January is a month where I feel an instinctive need to hunker down, retreat into semi-hibernation, restore energy levels and revel in the cosy comforts of home. It's a slow-living month, a time for contemplation and gentle planning, for taking it easy.
Yesterday J had the day off work, so we chose to head out into the Dales and meander along a favourite patch of riverside for an hour or so. We haven't really ventured out very much of late, so it felt great to drive into the countryside and breathe in some fresh air and scenery.
It wasn't that cold really, the air felt mild and still, but the sky was a murky grey which made the landscape seem a little dull and sleepy.
But still....we both agreed how good it felt to walk slowly along this flat easy pathway, inhaling the fresh winter air and taking in the soothing sounds of the river.
Our walk was short, and afterwards we drove along to the picturesque village of Linton....
....to nestle into this gorgeous, cosy old pub and eat a very tasty lunch. It was a slow, gentle day, just enough exercise for me to handle at this time. Just enough.
You may remember a couple of weeks ago, I had been feeling under the weather? Well I eventually took myself to the doctor and after a little discussion was sent off for some blood tests. Let me reassure you, it's nothing serious, but I have honestly been struggling with my day to day routines of late, feeling utterly exhausted, fuzzy headed and unusually down in the dumps. And no wonder really - it turns out I have iron deficiency anaemia, as well as vitamin D deficiency. I tell you, it was such a relief to find this out, to be told that I wasn't just over tired, over weight, unfit, hormonal etc etc which is what I had begun to convince myself. Deep down I knew I wasn't right, but there was this nagging feeling that I should be coping better, should be feeling brighter, should have more energy and va-va-voom.
I can tell you that having an iron-deficient body and brain is blinkin' hard work. My brain hasn't really been functioning properly at all to be honest, I've felt discombobulated, been finding it hard to concentrate and remember things. I have felt on the brink of exhaustion pretty much all day every day, just the odd fleeting periods of feeling ok (usually after a whole day doing absolutely naff all).
But anyhow - of course the good news is that this is all fixable, although because my iron levels have fallen so very low, it's a slow recovery road that I'm on. I've got three months of hefty iron and vitamin supplements to get through, and oh I can't wait to begin to feel more like my usual self again. I miss the old me very, very much. This bone tired, dizzy, foggy, tearful version of me is pretty rubbish!
On the upside (and I believe there IS always an upside to be found), I am learning pretty fast to put my needs first and look after myself in this time of recovery. I have slowed myself right down physically and mentally, telling myself that it is entirely acceptable in the circumstances to adopt a slow shuffle through my days. And I don't just mean physically (although I am seriously slow on my feet right now), but mentally as well. I am spending a lot of time at home, quiet, thoughtful, not expecting too much of myself. I am using the time for planning too, getting my head around starting some exciting new crochet projects as well as finishing off some old ones too.
I'm starting with my original granny stripe blanket, re-making it with more standard dimensions (the original version is wide and short as it was made for my caravan seat). I'll be using the same stitch and row count as my recent Sunny Granny Stripe, which means adding an extra 30 stripes. I'm photographing the making as I go so that I'll have pictures to use for a printed version of this pattern to pop inside the original yarn pack. It's been bothering me for a while that two of my early yarn packs don't have a printed pattern included (next on the list is a proper pattern for the Chunky Raindrops Cushion). Revisiting this blanket, using colours that I am so familiar with is therapeutic work and it's suiting me very well right now. The actual pattern writing can wait for a few months, when hopefully my brain will be in better shape!
Last week I went every day to my studio to work, even though I was feeling quite low and run down. It was lovely, and I found myself getting all giddy over new colour combo's which has really got me all excited for new Spring projects. But really, home is right where I most want to be at the moment. I need rest and quiet, warmth and comfort. I am preparing hearty, healthy lunches to give me energy and nutrients. I am giving myself permission to light the fire and candles in the middle of the afternoon and making myself simply sit still and be. It's surprisingly hard for me to sit still I've found, I am such a fidget!
I've been enjoying life’s simple pleasures as the days crawl by - sweet little narcissi dancing on my mantel.....
....and some pretty pink hyacinths just coming into bloom.
And these rows of yarny colour too, oh this is the very best kind of pleasure, it really is. I sit and crochet row after row and think for the bobillionth time, how very much I love crocheting blankets. I am a Blanket Maker, and I have the best job in the world.